March 1, 2024

Hints of Progress in Europe Cap a Week of Gains

The leaders took steps this week to show they were tackling the debt crisis, which has plagued markets for weeks, including coordinated central bank moves to give European banks greater access to financing in dollars.

Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, urged European Union finance ministers to leverage their bailout fund to better tackle the debt crisis and to start speaking with one voice, but there was no agreement on what steps to take.

Still, the encouraging headlines out of Europe helped the S. P. 500 post a 5.4 percent gain for the week, its best since early July, and the five-day string of gains was the broad index’s strongest since the end of June.

The Nasdaq composite index registered its best weekly percentage advance since July 2009, reflecting strength in technology shares on Friday. The S. P. tech index rose 1 percent, while the S. P. consumer discretionary index also gained 1 percent.

“The market seems to be a little bit more reassured that support will not allow for a major disruption in Europe,” said Natalie Trunow, chief investment officer of equities at Calvert Investment Management in Bethesda, Md.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 75.91 points, or 0.66 percent, at 11,509.09. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was up 6.90 points, or 0.57 percent, at 1,216.01. The Nasdaq composite index was up 15.24 points, or 0.58 percent, at 2,622.31.

The Nasdaq gained 6.3 percent for the week while the Dow rose 4.7 percent.

Still, major obstacles must be overcome in solving the euro zone’s debt crisis.

Less than 75 percent of private sector creditors have signaled they will take part in a plan to buy back Greek debt, far less than the 90 percent target set by Greece. The shortfall could jeopardize the planned second bailout package for Athens.

Greece’s international lenders said on Friday they would delay a crucial visit to the country next week, and European finance ministers demanded that Athens fulfill its pledges to win further aid.

Among United States stocks, General Electric gained 1.6 percent to $16.33 after forming two new joint ventures in Russia that it said could generate $10 billion to $15 billion in new revenue over the next few years. One of the worst hit stocks, the BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, slid 19 percent to $23.93 a day after it reported a steep drop in quarterly profit and offered little hope of a quick turnaround.

United States economic data showed that consumer sentiment inched up in early September, but that Americans were gloomy about the future with their expectations for the economy falling to the lowest level since 1980.

Interest rates were lower. The Treasury’s benchmark 10-year note rose 8/32, to 100 20/32, and the yield fell to 2.06 percent from 2.08 percent late Thursday.

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